Sunlight is a free, non-polluting resource that can be used to produce energy in many forms. Star Plus Energy technologies convert sunlight into electricity or thermal energy for power and heating. They include photovoltaic (PV) panels, concentrated solar power (CSP), and concentrating solar thermal with molten salt storage (CST).
Solar PV modules generate electricity by applying an electric process to photons in the sunlight that passes through a panel’s cells. Groups of PV modules are configured into modules and arrays. The output of a PV system can be tailored to meet specific energy needs by adjusting the number of panels and orientation.
Depending on the type of installation, solar power systems can have a low environmental impact. PV systems use clean, renewable energy that reduces carbon dioxide emissions.
On the other hand, large utility-scale solar power facilities may require significant amounts of water to clean solar collectors and concentrators, or to cool turbine generators. Using water for these purposes in arid areas can affect local ecosystems. Additionally, the beam of concentrated sunlight a solar power tower creates can kill birds that fly into it.
Whether solar energy makes sense for your household depends on both social and financial factors. A discounted cash flow analysis can be helpful to evaluate the costs and benefits of a system. Be sure to consider the potential benefits of incentives such as tax credits and rebates, which vary by location and state. These can significantly lower your outflows and increase your inflows.